File Association in Windows – How to change it

Get the free “Defaults Programs Editor” and control file extensions and their file associations in windows.It is a powerful file association utility for windows that lets you associate any program with any file type.

In windows, when you double-click a file to open it, the OS opens the file in the program that is associated with that file name extension.

However, certain programs tend to change the default program associated with a recognized file name extension without your permission. For example, the default program associated with PDF files is Acrobat Reader. However when I decided to try another PDF reader and installed it, the program altered the default file association and associated itself with PDF files. What was even worse was it did’t even try to restore the original file association, even after I deleted the program.This resulted in windows failing to open PDF files, whenever I click “Open”, as it could not find the associated program. I needed the help of “Defaults Programs Editor” to restore the association of PDF files with “Acrobat Reader”.

Features of Defaults Programs Editor

Defaults Programs Editor has the following features.

  • File Type Settings:
    • Provides the ability to add, edit, and delete context menu items
    • Lets you edit file type information (such as icon and description)
    • Lets you change an extension’s associated file type
  • Autoplay Settings:
    • Provides the ability to add, edit, and delete autoplay handler programs
    • Lets you change which autoplay options are available for any media type
    • Lets you change the default autoplay handler
  • Default Programs Settings:
    • Provides the ability to add or Remove default associations (possible to check, but not un-check, in Windows)
  • Additional Features:
    • You can disable the “Search web for unknown extension” dialog
    • You can use it as a standalone utility, or install it as a Control Panel applet
    • you can make direct changes to the system registry, or export edits as .reg files

How to change a File Extension’s associated File Type

  • From the main screen, click the “File Type Settings” button.
  • On the File Type Page, click the link change an extension’s associated file type.

How to add a new context menu command to a Fiel Extension

  • From the main screen, click the File Type Settings button.
Defaults Programs Editor
  • On the File Type Page, click the Context Menu button.
File Type Editor
  • Choose an extension to edit, and click the Next button.
Change File Extension
  • Click the Add… button.
Change Context Menu
  • In the “Command name” area, type the new context menu item name. In the “Program path” area, type the full file path to the program which will be launched when this context menu item is clicked. For example, c:\windows\system32\notepad.exefor Notepad. Specifying “%1” as a parameter will pass the full path of the selected file to the chosen program. Therefore, to open the selected file with notepad, the full “Program path” value would be c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe "%1".
    Choose whether the new context menu item will be for all files of the chosen file type, or only for files with the selected extension. Then click the Next button to return to the Context Menu Page.
Change File association
  • Click the “Save” Context Menu Button.

That is all! The new context menu item would have been added.

Free download Defaults Programs Editor from here. It works on Windows 7, windows Vista and XP. It requires .NET framework 3.5 installed on your PC.

You may also be interested to read on how to open files with unknown file extensions.

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